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“Neither Jewish morality nor Jewish tradition can be used to disallow terror as a means of war... We are very far from any moral hesitations when concerned with the national struggle. First and foremost, terror is for us a part of the political war appropriate for the circumstances of today...”

— Yitzhak Shamir
Israeli Prime Minister, Zionist terrorist
in an August 1943 article titled “Terror”, written for Hazit
the journal of Lehi, the terrorist organization he belonged to

Israeli War Crimes at Jenin

Human Rights Watch report into Jenin accuses Israel of war crimes

By Julie Hyland
World Socialist Web Site
10 May 2002

(section titles below added by author of present site)

A report issued by Human Rights Watch (HRW) charges the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) with committing war crimes during its military operation against the Jenin refugee camp, and calls for a full international investigation into events during its occupation.

The 48-page report, “Israel, the Occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian Authority Territories: Jenin: IDF Military Operations,” is the outcome of a weeklong investigation in the camp by a team of three experienced investigators. Between April 19 and April 28, they interviewed some 100 victims and eyewitnesses, and took statements from international aid workers, medical workers, and local officials, as well as collecting information from public sources, including those of the Israeli government, about the operation. The IDF would not agree to Human Rights Watch’s repeated requests for information regarding its military incursions into the West Bank and Gaza.

IDF murders of civilian men, women and children

HRW were able to establish that at least 52 Palestinians were killed during the IDF operation. Of these, some 22 were civilians, many of whom “were killed wilfully or unlawfully”. These include children, physically disabled and elderly people. It also found numerous instances in which the IDF breached international humanitarian law and the Geneva Convention, including indiscriminate attacks on civilians and their property, denying medial aid and emergency supplies, and summary executions.

Political distortions in report

The report contains a series of moderate recommendations aimed at all the major players in the Middle East — Israel, the US, the European Union and the United Nations, as well as the Palestinians. It describes the Israeli state and the Palestinian Authority as if they were equally matched, and equally culpable, parties to the conflict. HRW takes as good coin IDF claims that the incursion into Jenin was launched as a defensive response to hunt down those responsible for the suicide attacks that have killed or injured 70 Israelis over the last months. It says nothing about the broader context of the Jenin raid, which took place just days after the imprisonment of PA leader Yasser Arafat in his Ramallah headquarters on March 29, and whose objective was to destroy the Palestinian Authority and the Oslo Peace Accords.

HRW’s attempt at even-handedness in what is clearly an uneven, if not one-sided conflict, leads it to cite the presence of armed Palestinian militants in the camp, and their laying of booby traps just prior to IDF entry, as if these were acts of aggression, rather than necessary precautions to try and protect the camp and its inhabitants against a brutal invasion.

Of the most serious charges against Israel — that the IDF carried out a massacre in Jenin and removed bodies from the refugee camp for burial in mass graves — the HRW says only that it could find “no evidence”.

Indeed HRW was quick to dismiss allegations of a massacre having been carried out by Israeli forces in a way that pre-empted the planned United Nations investigation into events at the Jenin refugee camp, which the government of Ariel Sharon subsequently blocked. The HRW declaration that there was no evidence of a massacre was immediately seized on as part of Israel’s propaganda efforts. Nevertheless the organisation’s report is a damning indictment of Israeli actions.

Israel guilty of war crimes

HRW states that, based on the evidence and research undertaken, “during their incursion into the Jenin refugee camp, Israeli forces committed serious violations of international humanitarian law, some amounting prima facie to war crimes”.

The human rights group rejects Israeli assertions that the apparent presence of some 80 armed Palestinians (in a camp of 14,000 people) gave it the right to abrogate international humanitarian law. “The rule of military necessity does not allow for military measures to be taken that violate the laws of war or that do not have a military purpose... The degree of autonomy granted to military planners by the concept of military necessity is subservient to the rule of proportionality and other ‘laws and customs of war’, ” HRW explain. It cites numerous instances in which IDF forces committed grave breaches of the Geneva Convention and international standards of warfare during its “Operation Defensive Shield.”

The most fundamental principle of the laws of war, HRW states, “requires that combatants be distinguished from non-combatants, and that military objectives be distinguished from protected property and protected places”. This was breached on several occasions. Israeli forces fired indiscriminately upon civilian homes and property, without warning. Several civilians were killed in their homes, whilst asleep, by helicopter fire and missile strikes, despite the absence of any combat in the vicinity.

Israeli sadism

HRW also document incidents of reprisals against civilians:

Armored bulldozers

Israeli forces also breached international law limiting the destruction of civilian property during military action. Those Palestinians living in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are deemed “protected persons”, under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The use of armoured bulldozers to destroy civilian homes violated this protection, the investigators found. Although the IDF justified their use on the grounds of clearing passageways, “particularly in the Hawashin district, the destruction extended well beyond any conceivable purpose of gaining access to fighters, and was vastly disproportionate to the military objectives pursued.”

HRW report that the damage caused to the Jenin camp by missile and tank fire and bulldozers “shocked many observers”. At least 140 buildings — most of them multi-family dwellings — were destroyed and another 200 rendered unsafe. Some 4,000 people have been displaced. “Serious damage was also done to the water, sewage and electrical infrastructure of the camp,” it reports, before concluding that the level of “destruction was deliberately comprehensive”.

Summary executions

HRW also found evidence of summary executions, a clear war crime. Jamal al-Sabbagh was shot to death by the IDF on April 6, whilst obeying orders to strip off his clothes. Munthir al-Haj, a 22-year-old Palestinian militant, was brutally killed on April 3, as he lay severely wounded. Al-Haj had been participating in the resistance when he was injured and taken by other fighters to the steps of the mosque on the top floor of the al-Razi hospital. Unarmed and bleeding from multiple wounds, al-Haj called out for help from hospital staff who, despite repeated attempts, were unable to retrieve him. For almost two hours, al-Haj attempted to drag himself into the hospital, before an Israeli solider opened fire from a tank, killing him instantly.

Murder of a nurse, blocking of rescue workers

Numerous other instances were recorded of the injured being denied urgent medical care, and of health workers coming under attack. Nurse Farwa Jammal, 27-years-old, was shot dead on April 3 as she tried to rescue a neighbour. Dressed in her white uniform, marked with a red crescent symbol (the Muslim equivalent of the red cross), Jammal left her house with her sister, Rufaida, to try and help the wounded man. Rufaida and Farwa were shot several times and injured by IDF soldiers, despite the clear visibility of their uniforms. Although Farwa lay dying, the soldiers continued to fire, throwing bombs at those attempting to rescue the sisters. Finally Rufaida was rescued by her husband, but Farwa was dead.

The IDF consistently blocked the “passage of emergency medical vehicles and personnel to Jenin refugee camp for eleven days, from April 4 to April 15,” HRW report. In this time, those injured, as well as the sick, had no access to medical treatment, whilst the functioning of hospitals and emergency vehicles were severely impaired, the latter being repeatedly fired upon by IDF soldiers. At other times, medical personnel were stopped and forced to strip to their underwear, preventing patients receiving urgent treatment.

The IDF also prevented humanitarian organisations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, gaining access to the camp and other Palestinian areas. This blockade continued in Jenin even after the majority of armed Palestinians had surrendered.

Using “human shields”

The Fourth Geneva Convention specifically outlaws the practice of using human shields, but HRW reports that such coerced use of civilians was “a widespread practice” in Jenin. “In virtually every case in which IDF soldiers entered civilian homes, residents told Human Rights Watch that IDF soldiers were accompanied by Palestinian civilians who were participating under duress”. Such cases include that of Kamal Tawalbi, the father of 14 children, who described how soldiers kept him and his 14-year-old son for three hours in the line of fire, using his and his son’s shoulders to rest their rifles as they fired.

American complicity

The report also provides proof of the complicity of the Western powers, particularly the United States, in giving the Zionist state a green light to crush Palestinian resistance. This is not only due to the US-supplied weaponry used by the IDF to terrorise and kill civilians, but also to the time-line of events. The HRW investigation shows how Israel massively intensified its military incursion into Jenin, stepping up its deliberate targeting of the civilian population and infrastructure, during the period that US Secretary of State Colin Powell undertook his round-about tour of the Middle East — confirming that the tour was designed primarily to buy time for the Israeli state to step up its offensive.

Full text of the report can be obtained at Human Rights Watch Web Site: http://www.hrw.org

Related pages

Jenin massacre:

The Jenin Massacre

Massacre at Jenin: “I now know the smell of death...”

Immortal Heroes of Jenin

The Israelis are Guilty of Mass Murder in Jenin

Eyewitness Jenin: Evidence of a Massacre

Human Rights Watch report excerpts

“Sanity was buried alive...” at Jenin

Israeli state terrorism:

An American Heroine, Murdered by Israelis

The Israeli Connection To 9-11

American/Israeli Terrorism of the Palestinian People

A description of the sadistic nature and scope of Israeli state terrorism, with related sites for more information.

Israel’s State Terrorism
by Dr. Lev Grinberg

Albert Einstein Condemns Israeli Nazis

Zionism is Jewish Naziism: A Photo Essay on Israeli State Terrorism

Ariel Sharon: The Jewish Hitler

Return of the Terrorist: The Crimes of Ariel Sharon

Racist Zionism: Israeli Apartheid

Western State Terrorism
Alexander George, editor; essays by Noam Chomsky, Edward S. Herman, Gerry O’Sullivan and others

The infamous quote by Yitzhak Shamir, at the top of this page, is given in Western State Terrorism, chapter 2: International Terrorism: Image and Reality, by Noam Chomsky, section 6, and note 36. See chapter sections 4 through 8 for heavily-censored (in America) information on the historical realities of Israeli state terrorism.

Related sites

Photos from Jenin

Horrifying photos from the Jenin refugee camp, taken after the massacre by Israeli Nazis. There are sickening photos of mutilated, burned and dismembered bodies — and yet the most repulsive photo of all is the one of Colin Powell and Ariel Sharon while they’re alive (or are they?). It was taken during or shortly after the Jenin massacre as both of the old war criminals were enjoying themselves. Powell is leering evilly as he stands like a marionette on a string behind a stupidly gaping Sharon, whose squinting left eye is turned to the left while his open right eye stares directly at the viewer. A couple of freaky, filthy old murderers if there ever were. And if you pay taxes to the U.S. government, you’re paying these satanic freaks and their minions to literally butcher children.

Palestine Media Watch

“The purpose of Palestine Media Watch is to fight anti-Palestinian bias in the US media and to call for giving Palestinian views greater room for expression.

“Palestine Media Watch is a grass-roots media watch group established on October 5, 2000 to help fight US media bias against Palestinians via direct action: writing letters and making phone calls. Our strength is in the commitment of our dedicated members — our gadflies — who day after day, through their informed letters to newspapers, work for a more balanced, more humane, and more informed portrayal of the Middle East conflict.”

Palestine Chronicle
News and Commentary from Palestine, the Middle East, and Beyond...

Palestine Chronicle is an independent internet magazine, dedicated to addressing issues and offering perspectives rarely seen in mainstream western media. These issues include the plight and welfare of Palestinian refugees, as well as other displaced and oppressed people around the world.”

Electronic Intifada logo
The Electronic Intifada

“A resource for countering myth, distortion and spin from the Israeli media war machine.”

“The Electronic Intifada project...aims to focus on just one aspect of the struggle, the war in the media for a representation of the Palestinian point of view.”

This site also provides a running total the Palestinian men, women and children who have been murdered and injured by the Israeli “Defense” Forces.

Boycott Israel Campaign

“People of good conscience have chosen to boycott israeli products and companies supporting the zionist entity. ... We have carried out extensive research to identify the guilty companies. All our findings are provided here.”

Stop US Tax-funded Aid to Israel Now


“SUSTAIN is a non-hierarchical, grassroots organization committed to supporting and sustaining the Palestinian movement for justice, human rights and self-determination.

“The United States government supports Israeli violations of Palestinian national and human rights militarily, economically, and ideologically. The most tangible form of this support is the massive tax-funded aid that goes to Israel. We are committed to building a campaign against US military and economic aid to Israel so that US tax-dollars do not support the abuse of human rights.”

Indict Ariel Sharon
Justice for the Victims of Sabra & Shatila

“IndictSharon.net is the website of the International Campaign for Justice for the Victims of Sabra & Shatila, offering news on the case lodged in Belgium against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and other Israelis and Lebanese responsible for the massacre, killing, rape and disappearance of civilians that took place in Beirut between 16 and 18 September 1982 in the camps of Sabra and Shatila and the surrounding area.”

MER - Mid East Realities

“MER’s purpose is to distill and present the most incisive and honest, the most insightful and independent, information and analysis about what is really going on in today’s Middle East as well as in Washington about the Middle East.”

Colorado Campaign for Middle East Peace

Media-censored information and photos documenting the efforts of private American citizens to protect the Palestinian people and protest Israeli state terrorism — within Israel itself.

Palestine Daily
daily news and current events

A great deal of news and information, with related links and sections on Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as Palestine and the Middle East in general.

Resources about Palestine

“A collection of talks, interviews and other materials to help broaden your knowledge of the Palestine issue.” Includes video and audio interviews with Palestinian people and peace workers.

The Other Apartheid:
Commission of Inquiry to Investigate U.S.-Backed Israeli War Crimes In Palestine


“Day after day, as Israeli ‘Defense’ Forces continue to kill, attack and humiliate the Palestinian people in a brutal occupation, the U.S. Government lays the blame for the conflict and responsibility for peace on the Palestinians. It arrogantly insists on ‘reform’ of all Palestinian institutions, the overturn of the Palestinian leadership and an end to all Palestinian resistance to occupation. The powerful combination of U.S. policy’s vast diplomatic support, arming and funding of Israel and the corporate media’s wildly distorted portrayal of the occupation creates mass confusion about the situation for people in the U.S.

“The Commission of Inquiry is being titled ‘The Other Apartheid’ as a comparison to the apartheid policies faced by Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories and within the 1948 border of Israel, and to those faced in South Africa. This is clearly a policy that comes from the top levels of the Israeli government with the full support of the United States, just as the U.S. and Israel supported the now-overthrown apartheid regime in South Africa.

“Few people in the U.S. realize that the U.S.-backed Israeli occupation breaks dozens of international laws and human rights conventions. Even fewer know of the dispossession of the Palestinian people to make way for the state of Israel, or of the long history of Palestinian resistance.”

Israeli Aggression, Militarism, and Terror

Excerpts from several books dealing with Israeli state terrorism:

The Zionist Terror Network (online book)

“This booklet documents the background and criminal activities of Jewish Zionist terrorist groups, and especially the Jewish Defense League. Particular emphasis is given here to terror — including murder — against ‘thought criminals’ who question the Holocaust story that six million Jews were systematically killed during the Second World War.

“Zionist terrorists openly proclaim an arrogant Jewish-supremacist ideology and acknowledge their readiness to use violence against those who disagree with them. With a well-documented record of bigotry and crime, they pose a serious danger to our society, and to men and women everywhere who treasure freedom.”

Return of the Terrorist:
The Crimes of Ariel Sharon


“Sharon’s history offers a monochromatic record of moral corruption, with a documented record of war crimes going back to the early 1950s.”

“In 1953 he was given command of Unit 101, whose....purpose was that of instilling terror by the infliction of discriminate, murderous violence not only on able bodied fighters but on the young, the old, the helpless.”


An International Action Center page with links to a good collection of informative articles on the brutal tactics of Israeli state terrorism, Israeli use of Depleted Uranium weapons, the political realities of the Al Aqsa Intifada, a related article by Mumia Abu-Jamal, and reports from the October/November 2000 IAC Fact Finding Mission To Palestine.

Al-Aqsa Intifada
The Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network

Includes reports such as:

WSWS : News & Analysis : Israel and Palestine

This is the index page for an extensive collection of news articles and high-quality analysis. The articles deal with both the brutal Israeli terrorism and oppression of the Palestinian people, and the internal condition of Jewish Israeli society itself.


“There are in fact many Jewish movements, groups and organizations whose ideology regarding Zionism and the so-called ‘State of Israel’ is that of the unadulterated Torah position that any form of Zionism is heresy and that the existence of the so-called ‘State of Israel’ is illegitimate.”

Neturei Karta - Jews United Against Zionism

“In addition to condemning the central heresy of Zionism, we also reject its policy of aggression against all peoples. Today this cruelty manifests itself primarily in the brutal treatment of the Palestinian people. We proclaim that this inhuman policy is in violation of the Torah.

“NKI seeks peace and reconciliation with all peoples and nations. This is especially needed in our relations towards the Islamic world where Zionism has for 53 years done so much to ruin Jewish - Muslim understanding.

“We welcome the assistance of all men of good will and stand ready to assist all whose agenda coincides with ours.”

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